Finances

The 2017 Joint Power Agreement established the Initial Agency Funding Commitments for member agencies for the first two fiscal years of the GSA (FY17-18 and FY18-19).

It was anticipated that the GSA would become self-funded beginning July 2019 by implementing a ground water sustainability fee. (For more information on the Groundwater Sustainability Fee click here.) In June 2019, the GSA Board of Directors approved a plan to offset fees calculated for all groundwater users in the Santa Rosa Plain, except for municipal pumpers, through 2022. Under the plan, the County of Sonoma and Sonoma Water contribute a total of up to $240,000 annually for the GSA. The $240,000 contribution derives from three sources: County contingency funds ($200,000 annually); Sonoma Water general fund (up to $26,800 annually); and Sonoma Water transmission funds (up to $13,200 annually).

The GSA requires $337,000 annually to operate in compliance with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). In June 2019, the Santa Rosa Plain GSA Board approved a Groundwater Sustainability Fee (listed in the table below) and a Groundwater Users Registration Program (Ordinance No. 19-02) was approved in December 2019.) The County and Sonoma Water contributions are in lieu of the fees that would be paid by rural groundwater users under the ordinance, during the GSA start-up phase.

Total 16,934 AF 100% $337,000
User/Class of User Total Estimated Extraction Class % of Estimated Usage User/Class Annual Impact
City of Cotati 264 AF 2% $5,252
City of Rohnert Park 1,612 AF 10% $32,089
City of Santa Rosa 1,598 AF 9% $31,800
City of Sebastopol 1,004 AF 6% $19,977
Town of Windsor 50 AF 0% $995
Sonoma Water 592 AF 3% $11,772
Sonoma State University 203 AF 1% $4,038*
California-American Larkfield 524 AF 3% $10,426*
Small Water Service Providers 1,096 AF 6% $21,812*
Agriculture 5,345 AF 32% $106,374*
Rural Residential Groundwater Users 3,664 AF 22% $72,905*
Urban Residential Groundwater Users 189 AF 1% $3,759*
Golf Courses 595 AF 4% $11,850*
Schools 199 AF 1% $3,952*

* Fees for the groundwater user classes marked with an asterisk are paid for through contributions by the County of Sonoma and
Sonoma Water, as described above.

The GSA Budget

The GSA Board of Directors must adopt its fiscal year budget 60 days before the end of the preceding fiscal year. Since the fiscal year begins
July 1 and ends June 30, the Board must adopt the next year’s budget by May 1 of each year. The GSA maintains strict accountability of all funds and reports all receipts and disbursements on a quarterly basis. A certified public accountant audits the GSA annually.

For fiscal year 2017-2018, approximately 22% of the budget was dedicated to developing the Groundwater Sustainability Plan (GSP), as required by the SGMA.  In the 2018-19 and 2019-2020 fiscal years, approximately 40% of the budget was dedicated to the GSP as the GSA spends more time developing the plan and less time on formational documents, like bylaws and a charter.